Adapting to life’s changes part of helping building a community

Habitat never stops helping

Habitat for Humanity Kamloops’ mission is to help build and grow communities for seniors, veterans and families in need of a safe and decent home.

Often, that involves adjusting to change.

That is why Habitat Kamloops is designed to be a “living and breathing” organization that can accommodate life’s natural ebbs and flows.

A prime example of that is the recent situation where the original owners of three homes Habitat built several years ago along Westsyde Road have moved on, and now those vacant units, spread across two duplexes, have been passed on to new families.

“In Habitat’s home ownership program, we have a buy-back provision in our mortgage agreements,” explains Bill Miller, Habitat Kamloops’ executive director. “So, in the event a family chooses to leave their home, then we exercise our right to purchase the property.”

Under that agreement, the previous homeowners were given back their principal mortgage payments made while they were residents of the homes, and then Habitat Kamloops conducted another selection process for families to take up residence in the three, four and five-bedroom homes.

A total of 45 families were screened starting last November, and three were chosen in January 2020.

“Now, these families are getting the benefit of moving into these units under the Habitat Kamloops home ownership program,” Miller says.

In this particular instance, that includes having each family provide 500 hours of sweat equity in preparing the home for occupancy. Normally, on new Habitat Kamloops builds, families contribute their time during construction of the home.

And as per normal, under Habitat Kamloops home ownership agreement, mortgage payments are designed to not exceed one-third of a family’s income.

While finding new owners for a Habitat home is somewhat unique—most families stay long-term—the organization’s creative and flexible nature that adjusts to real-life changes extends further than just single-family homes, Miller says.

For example, Habitat Kamloops upcoming multi-family project in Salmon Arm, designed mainly for seniors, is open to a home trade program.

“If you are a senior, already have a home and want to move into one of these new units in Salmon Arm, Habitat Kamloops will look at taking their home in a fair, market value trade,” Miller says. “The senior then moves into one of our units, and we go through the family selection process and find new occupants for the home we acquired.

“We call that our ‘housing continuum.’”

For more information about Habitat for Humanity Kamloops and how it helps adjust to growing communities, visit their website here.


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